AS Nigeria continues to grapple with its myriad leadership challenges, former Editor of The Guardian, Abraham Ogbodo, has said the inter-dependency of the human spirit in value creation was one of the conditions that make life more liveable, while also listing honesty, intelligence, courage, fair-mindedness, firmness, selflessness, vision, diligence and generosity as some qualities expected of good leadership.
Ogbodo, who was keynote speaker at the investiture of Rotarian Julius Abuda as the fourth President of Rotary Club of Abijo, Ibeju-Lekki on Saturday, October 19, advocated for the abnegation of all forms of class discrimination and the enthronement of equality among all the peoples of the world, while preserving the diversities that make for a balanced ecosystem.
Good leadership, he said, is not about decreeing equality across different segments of society, but that which enthrones “conditions for happiness among peoples of diverse orientations and inclinations,” emphasizing that in such an arrangement, “the element that ensures peace and happiness is justice and not draconian laws.”
While referring to the endless excuses by many in the political class that Nigeria’s democracy is “nascent”, Ogbodo blamed the challenge of progress in leadership on prevalent tendencies by people to resist the natural call to be good to one another and to the society.
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He said: “When goodness is resisted, leadership becomes an unending learning curve and as a consequence, leadership theories are being constantly invented and reinvented to explain issues that do not require explanation.”
Ogbodo lamented the feeling of hopelessness in the country, blaming it on dishonest leadership. Saying: “Today, there is despondency in the land because people who had held so much promise for a better society have turned out to be mere pretenders to the throne of accountability because of low spirituality. Activists, public intellectuals and social crusaders of yester-years were indeed hustlers jostling for a slice of the public treasury through participation in government.
“Now in government and like chameleons, they have assumed the colour of their filthy environment in order to remain comfortable and safe. There are professors of law and Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, for instance, who are all too ready to descend into needless pedantry and intellectual gangsterism to offer curious interpretations of the law to suit very narrow and skewed interests.”
Calling on those in positions of leadership to invest in, rather than take from society, Ogbodo also advised for a change of values that will see people show more interest in the legacies they’d leave for posterity. He added that society will be better when people contribute to the solutions than act in ways that exacerbate the problems.
“We see leadership in our part of the world as an opportunity to mount high grounds and grandstand. It is hardly about service to the people and that is because by deliberate acts of omission and commission, we have established for ourselves a system that thrives on negative values,” he said.
He, however, urged Nigerians to be innovative to create the economic planks that would improve the entire society, advocating that people who believe in spiritual interventions as a means of solving the country’s problems, must also be willing to back up their prayers with intelligent works.
“The universe, either from the perspective of creation or evolution, is well designed and scientific. Nothing is haphazard or entirely gratuitous. If you work, you get rewards. If you work and pray, you get more rewards, but if you pray alone without work, the God of justice shall surely dispense justice,” he stated.
In his remarks, Abuda stressed that every rotarian thoughts, actions and words must be hinged on the four-Way Test as success is measured on the number of lives impacted.